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Matthew D. Friend © 2013

OCTOBER 30, 1915

Wm. H. Cameron Slays His Babe,
His Wife, Her Father, Mother, Brother
And Himself

The Dead
John Adamson, aged 66 years
Margaret Adamson, 57
James Adamson, 28
Isabella Cameron, 30
Elasta Cameron, 1 1/2
W. H. Cameron, 35

John Adamson, his wife, their daughter, Mrs. W. H. Cameron, their son James Adamson, and their grandaughter Eslasta Cameron, 18 months, are dead, as is W. H. Cameron, the one who did the deed. There are therefore six dead, all by the hand of the last named who was the father of the babe, the husband of her mother and the son-in-law of Mr. and Mrs. John Adamson.


The blood curdling tragedy occured about 8 o'clock last evening. W. H. Cameron the unfortunate man who did the awful deed, went to the Adamsons family residence where his wife and family were living. On seeing him enter gun in hand, John Adamson, his father-in-law, who was putting the Cameron baby to sleep, got up to lay it down on the bed and probley turned toward his son- in-law, who without saying a word, shot him dead. He then shot Mrs. John Adamson, his mother-in-law, also his babe, and began looking for others. His wife having run through the kitchen to the yard and on into a field, he followed, caught up with her about 200 yards away, passed his left arm around her neck, and holding her to him, shot her dead. He then shot himself through the head and dropped to the ground with his wife, the automatic falling between them. Edith Adamson and three Cameron children, being in another room of the Adamson house, were not seen by the frezied father. This is probley all that saved them.


Former Sheriff Taylor and Ed Cameron, brother of W. H. , where in Dr. Baugh's drugstore a quarter of a mile away and heard the shots. Mr. Taylor ran across the street to the telephone central, where his wife was awaiting the jitney to bring herself and husband to the band dance in Hailey, 28 miles away. She told her husband the telephone just said there was shooting at Adamson's.

Taylor and Cameron ran to the Adamson residence, about a fourth of a mile away, and saw Mr. and Mrs. Adamson and the 18 months-old Cameron baby girl- dead. They had been shot through the head, the bullet passing thru and spattering their brains about. James Adamson was still breathing, the bullet having penetrated the brain and lodged there. All were lyiing on the floor in pools of blood; all had been shot thru the head, and the blood was quite deep on the floor. All were in the dining room, John Adamson lying with his head in the kitchen, as he had fallen. The place was a slaughter house, a shambles.


W. Lennox Adamson, ex-chairman of the board of county commisioners, and Bishop of Blaine or Carey Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, lives about 60 feet from his parents house. Hearing the shots he first looked to see Cameron come to his house to carry out threats that he had made. But he got out on the street in time to see Taylor and Ed Cameron running to the Adamson residence, Leaving a man to guard his family Lennox ran to his parents' house and was so overcome by the sight which met his gaze that he almost fainted.

He and Messrs, Taylor and Ed Cameron began looking for Mrs. W. H. Cameron and her husband. As neither was found it was hoped that Mrs. Cameron, her sister, Miss Edith Adamson, who had escaped with the Camerons, were in hiding, and that the murderer had escaped.

The sheriff's office having been notified by telephone, deputy sheriffs Blair and Farrell and Dr. Raaf soon arrived on the ground in J. L. Fowler's car, and a search was organizes. About 20 men walking 15 or 20 feet apart with a lighted lantern at each end and one in the center of the line, formed a line and preceeded southwardly from the Adamsons'. After going some 300 yards W. H. Cameron and his wife were found as above stated. The bullet having passed thru her head, Mrs. Cameron was dead; but her husband still lived. As, however, his brains were oozing it was evident that he could not live very long, and he died at 11 o'clock this morning without having recovered consciousness.


The weapon with which the killing was done was bought from the Browning Bros., Ogden, Utah, a few days ago. It is a Colt's 45 automatic revolver. government model, same as used by the United States Army, Navy and National Guard, having a magazine capacity of seven cartridges besides one in the barrel, with a barrel 5 inches and the whole gun 8 1/2 inches long, and weighing 39 ounces. He shot six cartridges, one for each murder, and two remained in the gun. He had this come to him by express to Shoshone, where he went and got it. He then went to Camas Prarie on business, stayed 8 or 10 days and last Thursday returned home to Carey passing thru Hailey on the way.


Yesterday he hauled a load of hay to Carey and got his pay for it, and about 3 o'clock in the afternoon met ex-sheriff Good Taylor and spoke with his usual cheerfulness. He did not seem to be thinking of anything very unpleasant and, least of all, of such a tragedy.

Harmon Watkins drove to Cameron's stable wanting to turn in his team. Cameron told him not to do so, because he would not be there to look after it. Mr. Watkins thought this somewhat strange, but went on and was in Haily this morning.


Dr. Wright, the coroner, immediately he was informed of the trgedy, went to Carey. He was driven by Will Boyd, in Sam Brooks' car, and arrived there about 11 o'clock. All the dead being accounted for, he impaneled a jury composed of T. B. Evans, Ira Eldredge, T. C. Parke, I. T. Bristow, Perry Harris and Al. Phippen. After listening to some evidence the whole town's population being fully aware of the facts, the jury found that Mr. and Mrs. John Adamson, James Adamson, Eslasta Cameron and Mrs. Isabella and W. H. Cameron had come to their death by gun shot wounds at the hands of William H. Cameron.


The tragedy was premeditated. Trouble had been brewing between Cameron and his wife and her parents for years. Both familys were of Scotch decent, Mr. and Mrs. John Adamson having been born in Scotland, but all the others concerned in the tragedy being natives of United States. All had lived in Carey for 20 to 25 years, and therefore neighbors.

Cameron is said to have been born a catholic; others say he was a Gentile and a Protestant. However that may be Cameron was required to join the Mormon church before Miss Isabella Adamson would marry him. He did so; but never would attend to church duties. This caused much friction between the two families. Presently Cameron got to drinking more than was good for him and that incressed the friction.

One evening early last july Cameron came home under the influence of liquor and went to the cupboard for something. It being dark he lit a match to see in the cupboars. He happened to sit fire to a dishcloth hanging there. Testimony on this point is conflicting. Some say that she upbraided him for coming home drunk and that he began to sit the house on fire. Any way it is not denied that Mrs. Cameron, smelling rags burning, ran to the cupboard, and catching the burning towel, beat her husband over the head with it. A fight insued, Cameron beating up his wife until her crys and those of the children called in the neighbors.

Cameron was arrested and liberated on bail. At the trial before the HON> Thomas Stanford as justice of the peace. Mrs. Cameron tried to save her husband by saying that the bruises on her face and head resulted from a fall against a table and stand. This was strictly true the fall having resulted from her husband's blows. But Mr. Stanford told Cameron that he would make an example of him and he sentenced him to pay a fine of $200 and to serve four months in the county jail.

Vowing that he would never pay Cameron came to Hailey, stayed in jail two weeks and then appealed to the district court and was liberated on a bond. He was to have been tried next month.

He then went home but his wife was prevailed upon not to live with him. he and her four children made their home with her parents, and Cameron stayed at his hotel and livery stable, all alone. He was denied all intercourse with his family and that undoubtedly made him very unhappy. When the children by the hotel they did not go on the sidewalk but walked around in the street until past the hotel, then back to the walk.

Two weeks ago he was seen kneeling in the road, his arms about his little girl, and tears coursing down his cheeks.\ ALL CONCERNED GOOD PEOPLE All parties involved in the tragedy were most estimable people. John Adamson was a director of the Carey State Bank, one of the leading stockholders in the Blaine Co-Operative Mercantile Institution, a retired farmer and for years second counselor to William F. Rawson, the then Bishop of the Blaine Stake, but now chief counselor of the president or chief church official of the Boise Stake.

James Adamson had just returned from a mission that held him in England some years, and he was a good pianist as well as an active member of the Carey band and was also interested in the Blaine Co-Op.

Mrs. Isabella Cameron was a good, hardworking woman who had no thought of anything but her husband, her children, her home, her parents and her church. Conducting an hotel she frequently fed 15 or more people just assisted by her little daughter and one domestic. Usually up by 5 o'clock she seldom retired before 10 or 11 o'clock.

W. H. CAMERON was also quite a worker. Besides keeping a livery stable he was the mail contractor between carey and picabo for two years, covering the five miles between the two towns twice daily, and later ran a jitney.

W. Lennox Adamson, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. John Adamson, is the present Bishop of the Carey Stake. He is the manager of the Co-Op., and his wife is a daughter of former Bishop Rawson and the present chief counselor of the Boise stake. He being the eldest brother of Mrs. Cameron, had properly protected her on one or two occasions from her husband. It is therefore beyond a doubt that if Cameron had met him last night he would be among the slain.


Four caskets were shipped by express on the down train this afternoon from the Harris Undertaking Parlors. They were consigned to W. Lennox Adamson.

No casket has been ordered for Cameron.


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